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Dental Specialists - What do the Titles Mean?

By Darlene Oakley HERWriter
 
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As in many areas of medicine there are different aspects that sometimes require specialized treatment and attention. The same is the case in dentistry. There are a variety of specialists and practitioners that you may (or may not) need to consult with and be treated by to experience the best dental and oral health results.

If you've ever wondered what exactly these specialists do, here are some of the basics.

General dentist (GD) - A general dentist is just that. A general dentist can carry out a variety of treatments. They will do fillings, regular check ups, cleanings, and extractions. Some also do root canals, extraction of wisdom teeth, and dental reconstructions with onlays/inlays, bridges, etc.

Family Dentists - A family dentist is not really a specialty, but it means that that particular dentist is comfortable working with children.

Pedodontist - A pedodontist is a dentist who specializes and often treats only children. Some pedodontists also have surgical skills that are used in extreme cases.

Cosmetic dentists - Cosmetic dentists focus their practice on cosmetics. They concentrate on making your smile whiter and straighter, and may use dental restorations (onlays, inlays, and crowns) and teeth whitening to help improve a patient's smile. This treatment may be used in combination with other treatment by other specialists.

Endodontist - An endodontist is someone who specializes in performing root canals. They have training and skills and often equipment beyond that of a general dentist.

Orthodontists - Orthodontists specialize in moving teeth. Often tooth movement is done in conjunction with jaw movement and stabilization surgery. Sometimes the orthodontic process can be "jump started" by surgery. An orthodontist takes care of orthodontic "alignment."

Periodontists - Periodontists specialize in taking care of people's gum, particularly if there is advanced gum disease or periodontal disease that requires more care than a general dentist can provide.

Add a Comment4 Comments

Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

Thanks for this information, Darlene as well as The Dental Maven.

I've been up to my ears in general dentistry, oral surgery, and orthodontic care for two years and when my braces come off next month, I'm happy to say goodbye to them all, aside from general dentistry! But I'm so happy I decided to get my teeth "fixed" the old fashioned way (not getting veneers, I've never liked that look) as I love how they now look, I love how my whole mouth has realigned as well as the fact that they are my natural teeth. I have a lot more respect for the dental industry now that I realize how complicated it can be and much can be achieved.

October 31, 2009 - 5:02am
Darlene Oakley HERWriter

I never thought it would be illegal. It's perfectly legal in Canada. Perhaps our regulations are different.

October 31, 2009 - 4:57am
The Dental Maven

It should be noted that a "denturist" is not a dentist and there are only 6 States in which denturism is legal.
http://www.dentalwatch.org/reg/denturism.html

October 31, 2009 - 4:40am
Diane Porter

Darlene,

It's a small thing, I suppose, but this was so helpful! I often see dental specialists' names on the outsides of their buildings with an assortment of initials after their names, and have had no idea in the past what most of those abbreviations meant. Thank you!

October 30, 2009 - 10:09am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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